Learn break-out session 2-16-07 and at keynote address 2-17-2007)

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29 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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Billy Collins’ Poetry Points (notes recorded by T. Bouslog at Write to
Learn break
-
out session 2
-
16
-
07 and

at

keynote
address
2
-
17
-
2007)


1.

“Poetry comes into being when prose has its limits.”


2.

People become poets not because they find poetry pleasing. The
y are
jealous of poets and their talents. Collins’ first literary jealousy

John
Donne’s “The Flea.”


3.

Avoid “What does a poem mean?” Instead, discuss “How does a poem
go? Where does it start and where does it end?”



4.

Ending of a poem for the poet is a
destination. Look at a poem as a
moving thing; not as something to paraphrase

“sailing a poem.”

Look
for “swivel words.”


5.

“The pleasure of meaning is a pleasure but not the only pleasure (it’s the
last). The pleasure of poetry starts with the body and t
he ear and ends
with the mind.



6.

The pen is not a recording instrument; it’s an instrument of discovery.



7.

Analogies he made: “writing is like groping” and “hold
ing a pen like the
Ouija board piece.




8.

Collins’ poems feature the “volta” or “turn” because
he says he gets
“bored with the direction of a poem”

and wants it to surprise and connect
to the

unexpected.



9.

Collins deeply influenced by Coleridge’s “Conversation” poems like “This
Lime Tree Bower My Prison” because these are poems that “start concrete
and small and booster off into
something deeper and more
abstract.”




10.

“Writing is the love of strangers. How do you get a stranger interested in
your internal life? Give the stranger pleasure

poetry’s form is pleasing.”


11.

“Do your students ever ask ‘Why
is everything we read depressing or
dark?
’?”

Collins stated, “Content of literature is misery leading to death
[and the English major majors in misery leading to death

ha ha].” But
what makes us so attracted to this is the tension of literature

“unhappine
ss of content contrasts with happiness of form.” Subsequently,
Collins says that’s why television is so bad, superficial: “happy content
and happy form.” There must be tension.



12.


Things to address with young poets: poetry is the “combination of things

clear and things mysterious.” Collins doesn’t like poems about “things
mysterious that should be clear” or “things clear that should be
mysterious.”

Teenagers think the bigger the subject the better the
poem; however, small things (concrete and
the phy
sical
) are

a

keyhole to
help one look at larger issues.”


13.

Good art=
resistance

and negotiation, not merely self
-
expression. Self
-
expression leads to tantrum.



14.

Have students write haiku, 17
-
syllable form. It is a preset form, eternal,
immutable, and the w
riter is vaporous, confused, mortal, and bent on
expression. This form helps young writers understand #11’s point

resistance

and negotiation.”


15.

Titles can do a lot of the work for you (the poet).



16.


Poetry 180 program that Collins began doesn’t want poet
ry taught like
“verbal calculus.”

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/



Some of his poems I think students would enjoy:


“Dharma”
and “
The Revenant”

poems about dogs

with concrete images and
powerful ideas


“Mar
ginalia”

a poem about annotations in books, ending with a sweet
reference to a marginal note in
The Catcher in the Rye


“The Lanyard”

an awesome poem about a child’s gift to a mother
(commentary on motherhood

and a child’s perspective
)